Melbourne: Sri Lanka are banking on the return of slinging paceman Lasith Malinga to give them a fresh start in the one-day series against Australia, starting in Melbourne from Friday.
The explosive Malinga, whose unusual “slingshot” action makes him difficult to face, was keenly missed by Sri Lanka in their three-Test mauling by the Australians as he concentrated on the shorter forms of the game.
In missing the Tests, he became one of the standout bowlers in Australia’s T20 Big Bash League with the Melbourne Stars.
Sri Lanka go into the series opener reinvigorated by the addition of Akila Dananjaya, Upul Tharanga and Ajantha Mendis along with Jeevan Mendis and Thisara Perera, who have been playing in the Big Bash League.
“I think it's going to be a fresh start because there are a few guys who will be joining us as well,” all-rounder Angelo Mathews said.
“It's very disappointing the way we played in the Test matches but I think we need to get through that, flush it out of the system and concentrate on the ODIs. Lasith Malinga is joining us and we have got more fire in our bowling department... I think he's the best bowler in world cricket at the moment in the T20 format.”
Sri Lanka will be encouraged by their ODI record in Australia, with four wins in seven matches last year, while they claimed their first-ever series win in Australia 2-1 in 2010. Sri Lanka have also won their past three ODIs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.